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10 Best (Non Prescription) Dog Foods for Urinary Health in 2019

Potty training is a necessary evil when you bring home a new puppy. You spend a few weeks getting up at all hours of the night and putting your puppy out a dozen times a day, but then you’re done. At the end of it, your dog is fully house-trained, and you can trust him not to piddle on the carpet when you’re away from home. Or can you?

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If your dog suddenly starts having accidents in the house or seems to be having trouble urinating, you should take him to the vet immediately. Urinary tract health problems are no joke and they can be more than just painful for your dog – they can be downright dangerous.

In this article, we’ll explore urinary tract issues in dogs in greater depth. We’ll talk about what causes them, their symptoms, and how they can be treated. We’ll also discuss the role diet plays in the treatment of urinary tract issues and show you our top picks for the best dog food for urinary tract health. So, read on!

The Basics About Urinary Tract Health in Dogs

Urine is fluid stored in the bladder and it is the body’s primary means of excreting excess water, salt, and other substances from the body. Dogs urinate to remove these substances from the body but may also do so as a means of marking their territory. Male dogs in particular have been known to pee a dozen times or more during a quick 30-minute walk.

Aside from the territorial aspect of it, peeing is a normal behavior for dogs. When you notice changes in your dog’s urinary habits, it should be cause for concern.

Here are some of the most common things that can affect urinary tract health for dogs: 

  • Infection – Lower urinary tract infections (UTIs) are fairly common in dogs but, left untreated, they can lead to more serious kidney infections. UTIs are more common in females.
  • Bladder or Kidney Stones – Certain minerals can crystallize in your dog’s urinary tract and aggregate into small stones. Very small stones can pass in the urine, but large stones may block the urinary tract and cause pain.
  • Other Kidney/Bladder Issues – Other issues that can affect the kidney and bladder include bladder stones, urolithiasis, ureteral stones, urinary calculi, and urinary calculus disease.
  • Incontinence – When dogs get older, they sometimes lose control over their urethral sphincter which is the muscle that holds urine in the bladder – this leads to incontinence.
  • Kidney Failure – Ingestion of certain toxic substances like antifreeze can lead to kidney failure in dogs which may present with urinary symptoms.

Urinary habits vary greatly from one dog to another, so just because your dog only pees twice a day doesn’t necessarily mean something is wrong. Your dog’s habits may change as he gets older as well – it is often a result of the muscles that hold urine in the bladder weakening with age. If you’re not sure whether your dog’s change in urinary habits are something to be worried about, it is always safest to consult your veterinarian.

Here are some other warning signs that your dog might have a urinary health issue: 

  • More frequent urination
  • Painful urination or difficulty urinating
  • Changes in water consumption
  • Excessive licking of genitals
  • Blood in the urine
  • Restlessness or listlessness
  • Lack of energy or interest in play
  • Cloudy or foul-smelling urine
  • Incontinence
  • Urinating in unusual places
  • Lower back pain

All dogs have the potential to develop urinary health issues, but some breeds have a higher risk than others. Though male dogs are less prone to UTIs and crystals, their urethral anatomy makes these problems more dangerous when they happen. The dogs most prone to urinary issues are female small-breed dogs between the ages of 4 and 8. Some breeds more prone to urinary tract health issues include Dalmatians, Bulldogs, German Shepherds, and Black Russian Terriers.

What Role Does Diet Play in Treatment?

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Diagnosing urinary health issues is usually fairly easy for a vet as long as you provide detailed information about your dog’s progression of symptoms. There are several tests your vet can use to confirm the diagnosis, primarily a urinalysis. Different urinary issues require different forms of treatment, however, so additional testing may be required. Infections, for example, may require antibiotics and, in some cases, surgery may even be necessary to remove large stones.

To better understand urinary stones, you should know that there are two common types:

  • Struvite Crystals – These are made up of magnesium ammonium phosphate and develop in urine that is too alkaline.
  • Calcium Oxalate – These develop in urine that is too acidic.

Struvite crystals used to be the most common type seen in pets which led to an increase in pet food manufacturers developing acidifying diets. Unfortunately, this movement is thought to have contributed to an increase in calcium oxalate crystals in pets due to overly acidic urine. The best approach, then, is to choose a slightly acidic diet that helps your dog maintain urine pH just below neutral – this should prevent the formation of either type of crystal.

Whether your dog has a UTI, urinary stones, or another issue, your vet is the best person to ask about treatment. In addition to whatever treatment your vet recommends, there are certain changes you may want to make to his diet. Increased water intake is extremely important, so you may want to consider switching to a fresh food or canned food diet. You can also add broth or water to your dog’s kibble and try feeding your dog in smaller amounts spaced out across the day.

On top of increasing the moisture level in your dog’s diet, you should also pay attention to the ingredients. For urinary tract infections not caused by stones, adding cranberries and other natural sources of vitamin C and antioxidants may help rebalance the pH of your dog’s urine. If your dog has stones, however, you need to reduce the vitamin C content of the diet because it can contribute to the issue. Ask your veterinarian for advice if you’re unsure. 

What to Look for in a Good Dog Food for Urinary Tract Health

Generally speaking, it is best to feed your dog a healthy, balanced diet made from high-quality, natural ingredients. Look for a recipe that contains a relatively low number of whole-food ingredients like real animal protein, whole grains or vegetables, and essential fatty acids. Aside from this general advice, there are some specific things you should keep an eye out for when shopping for the best urinary care dog food to help resolve your dog’s UTI or other urinary health issues.

Here are some things to look for in the best urinary care dog food

  • High-quality, whole-food ingredients. The best natural dog food for bladder stones, UTIs, and other urinary tract issues is one made with high-quality, whole-food ingredients. Avoid anything made with artificial additives, by-products, or fillers.
  • Rich in premium animal protein. Protein should be the foundation of any dog’s diet and should come from premium animal sources like meat, poultry, and fish.
  • Blend of omega fatty acids. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids support skin and coat health but can also provide anti-inflammatory benefits and act as a concentrated source of energy.
  • Low in inflammatory ingredients. Certain ingredients like refined carbohydrates and high-starch ingredients can made inflammation worse and contribute to urinary tract issues in dogs.
  • High in moisture and easy to digest. Increasing the moisture content of your dog’s diet is essential for urinary tract health and can also boost digestion. Other ingredients like fiber and probiotics can support healthy digestion as well.

Now that you have a better understanding of urinary tract health issues in dogs and how to treat them, you’re ready to start shopping for a new dog food. Keep reading to see our top 10 picks for the best non-prescription dog food for urinary health.

The 10 Best Dog Foods for Urinary Tract Health

If you’re concerned about your dog’s urinary health, you might be considering a veterinary or prescription diet. What many dog owners don’t realize is that these recipes are often made with hydrolyzed protein, by-products, and low-quality grains and fillers which can actually make your dog’s problems worse. Not to mention the fact that these foods cost a small fortune to purchase. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the best non-prescription dog food for urinary health.

Here’s our top pick for the best dog food for urinary tract health:

Ollie Fresh Pet Food Delivery

Overall Best Dog Food for Urinary Tract Health: If you want to increase the moisture content of your dog’s diet but you’re not sure canned food is the way to go, try fresh food! Animal nutrition experts agree that fresh food is generally best for dogs, as long as it is made from high-quality natural ingredients. That’s exactly what Ollie is – premium-quality fresh food made from wholesome natural ingredients. The bonus is that it is customized to suit your dog’s unique nutritional requirements and is shipped right to your door! Provide some basic information about your dog then choose from four recipes and a customized delivery plan. Fresh food will be delivered right to your door with simple feeding instructions – all you have to do is open the box! Ollie food is all-natural and vet-formulated, so you can rest assured that it will meet your dog’s requirements for balanced nutrition and will support his urinary health as well.

  • Pros: Customize your dog’s meals, fresh food delivered to your door, made with wholesome natural ingredients, vet-crafted for premium quality
  • Cons: Expensive compared to most commercial diets, limited number of recipes to choose from

Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream Grain-Free Canned Dog Food

Most Popular Dog Food for Urinary Tract Health: Sometimes it can be difficult to choose a dog food because there are so many options out there. When you just can’t make a choice, consider a trusted brand like Taste of the Wild. This brand doesn’t have the largest selection (especially compared to big names like Blue Buffalo), but their recipes are complete and balanced and loaded with premium roasted meats and other whole-food ingredients. This particular recipe features real fish including whitefish and salmon as well as turkey liver, a bonus source of protein and urinary health-supporting nutrients. It is extremely high in moisture with an optimal balance of protein and healthy fats, not to mention fresh fruits and vegetables that add a boost of premium nutrition to complement the synthetic vitamins and chelated minerals. Overall, this recipe is an excellent source of natural nutrition and is highly digestible thanks to the inclusion of prebiotic fibers. If this recipe doesn’t seem like the right fit, Taste of the Wild has several more to offer, including dry food recipes.

  • Pros: High in moisture and premium animal protein, contains urinary health-supporting nutrients, highly digestible recipe, complete and balanced nutrition
  • Cons: Contains some plant protein (pea protein), contains added starch (potato starch)

American Journey Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Dry Food

Most Affordable Dog Food for Urinary Tract Health: If canned food simply isn’t in your budget, this American Journey Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Grain-Free Dry Food could be a good alternative. It comes from Chewy’s in-house brand, so it is highly affordable and made with wholesome, natural ingredients. This high-protein dry food features real salmon as the main ingredient with grain-free carbohydrates to avoid triggering unnecessary inflammation. It is loaded with fresh fruits and vegetables to provide natural sources for key nutrients, including antioxidants and other urinary health-supporting nutrients. This recipe contains an ideal balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat, plus it is highly digestible with the addition of supplemental fiber and probiotics. To maximize your dog’s moisture intake, moisten it with a little chicken broth or water before serving and following the feeding recommendations.

  • Pros: Made with wholesome natural ingredients, fresh salmon as main ingredient, highly digestible with grain-free carbohydrates, fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Cons: Contains a plant source of protein (pea protein), not as high in moisture as some foods

The Honest Kitchen Grain-Free Chicken Recipe Dehydrated Dog Food

Best Dog Food for Urinary Tract Health and Sensitive Stomach: If your dog has a sensitive stomach on top of urinary health issues, you need to be extra careful about what you feed him. The best non-prescription dog food for urinary health and sensitive stomach might be something like this dehydrated recipe from The Honest Kitchen. It is dehydrated rather than cooked at high temperature which preserves more of the nutritional integrity of the raw ingredients. Plus, you need to rehydrate it with water or broth before serving which makes it a moisture-rich diet for your dog. This particular recipe features free-range chicken as the main ingredient with grain-free carbohydrates like flaxseed and sweet potatoes with dried fruits and veggies to provide a boost of premium-quality nutrition. It is complete and balanced thanks to fortification with essential vitamins and chelated minerals, plus it provides the optimal balance of protein and healthy fats.

  • Pros: Dehydrated not cooked at high temperatures, high moisture content when rehydrated, free-range chicken as main ingredient, highly digestible and nutritious
  • Cons: Expensive compared to most kibbles, some dogs dislike the texture of dehydrated food

6 More Top-Rated Dog Foods for Urinary Tract Health

If the dog foods reviewed above don’t seem like the right fit for your dog’s urinary health, don’t worry – there are plenty more to choose from! Simply keep the recommendations made above in mind when you start shopping or consider one of our additional picks below (including a bonus pick):

Nature’s Variety Instinct LID Grain-Free Real Turkey Recipe Canned Food

Whether you’re looking for the best dog food for urinary incontinence or simply something with a higher moisture content, this Nature’s Variety Instinct LID Grain-Free Real Turkey Recipe Canned Food is a great option. Coming from one of the top brands on the market, this recipe is packed with premium natural ingredients including cage-free turkey as a single source of animal protein. It also contains turkey liver, an ingredient known to contain several nutrients that support urinary health. This formula is loaded with moisture and is complete and balanced with the help of added vitamins and chelated minerals. It is highly digestible, loaded with natural flavor, and proudly made in the USA.

  • Pros: Cage-free turkey main ingredients, highly digestible and properly balanced, rich in moisture and urinary health-supporting nutrients, limited ingredient list
  • Cons: Expensive compared to most brands, contains a plant protein as main ingredient (pea protein)

FirstMate Australian Lamb Meal Formula LID Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Some dogs simply prefer dry food and if that sounds like your dog, you can at least choose a high-quality formula that will support his urinary health. This FirstMate Australian Lamb Meal Formula LID Grain-Free Dry Dog Food is one of our top picks for the best urinary dog food non-prescription because it contains a limited number of wholesome, natural ingredients with no grains or other inflammatory additives. It contains 78% animal ingredients with lamb meal as a single, novel source of premium animal protein. This formula contains blueberries, cranberries, and raspberries to provide antioxidants and urinary health-boosting nutrients, plus they work in combination with the added vitamins and chelated minerals to ensure complete and balanced nutrition. Overall, this formula is highly digestible and provides the optimal balance of protein and healthy fats.

  • Pros: Single source of novel animal protein, limited number of ingredients, fresh cranberries and other antioxidant-rich berries, 0% grain ingredients for reduced inflammation
  • Cons: Expensive compared to many dry foods, not as rich in moisture as canned food

Castor & Pollux Organix Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Canned Food

Wholesome natural ingredients are the most digestible for your dog and improved digestibility means that he gets more nutrition from the food he eats. This Castor & Pollux Organix Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Canned Food is a nutrient-rich and highly digestible recipe because it features a selection of organic ingredients. This USDA certified organic formula also includes minimally processed fruits and vegetables to provide natural sources of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It is rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for skin and coat support, plus optimal levels of calcium and phosphorus for bone and joint health. It is also crafted in small batches to ensure optimal nutrition and is completely free from corn, wheat, soy, and artificial additives.

  • Pros: Rich in moisture and wholesome natural ingredients, certified organic ingredients, rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, rich in antioxidants for urinary health
  • Cons: Somewhat more expensive than the average canned food

Holistic Select Whitefish, Salmon & Herring Pate Recipe Canned Food

Another nutritious option in moisture-rich canned food for your dog is this Holistic Select Whitefish, Salmon & Herring Pate Recipe Canned Food. It features a holistic recipe made with several premium sources of high-quality animal protein including chicken, whitefish, salmon, and herring. It is grain-free, made with digestible carbohydrates including peas and flaxseed with cranberry and blueberry powder to provide a boost of urinary tract-supporting antioxidants. This recipe provides the ideal blend of protein and healthy fats plus essential vitamins and chelated minerals for balanced nutrition. It is a highly digestible formula, made with supplemental fiber, so you can rest easy knowing that your dog will be able to absorb and utilize more of the nutritional content. Plus, it contains a blend of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to promote shiny skin and coat so your dog looks his best.

  • Pros: Rich in moisture and premium animal proteins, optimal blend of protein and healthy fats, cranberry powder for urinary health support, chelated minerals
  • Cons: Contains some plant protein (potato protein), contains some thickeners (guar gum, xanthan gum)

Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet W+U Weight Management + Urinary Care Wet Food

If your veterinarian is adamant that even the best non-prescription dog food for urinary health won’t be enough for your dog, at least go with a trusted brand like Blue Buffalo. This Blue Buffalo Natural Veterinary Diet W+U Weight Management + Urinary Care Wet Food is a prescription formula, but it is made with much higher quality ingredients than the leading brand. It comes in both a dry food and canned food formula, both featuring increased levels of fiber to boost satiety with controlled levels of magnesium and sodium to support urinary health. This canned food is made with fresh chicken as the main ingredient followed by chicken broth for a boost of moisture and natural flavor. It contains fresh fruits and vegetables, including cranberries, as well as added vitamins and chelated minerals to ensure complete and balanced nutrition.

  • Pros: Veterinarian-recommended for urinary health, increased moisture content, fresh chicken as the main ingredient, fresh fruits and veggies for natural nutritional content
  • Cons: Fairly expensive compared to non-prescription diets, contains plant protein as main ingredient

Addiction Grain-Free Salmon Bleu Dry Dog Food

If your dog has a strong preference for kibble over canned food, this Addiction Grain-Free Salmon Bleu Dry Dog Food could be a good option. It is a grain-free urinary dog food that contains cranberries and other natural sources for antioxidants to support your dog’s urinary tract health. The first ingredient is salmon meal, a concentrated source of high-quality animal protein and a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids This formula contains dried fruits and vegetables to provide natural sources for key nutrients but is also enriched with vitamins and minerals to ensure complete and balanced nutrition. The only thing to be mindful of is the slightly higher starch content due to the dried potatoes – check with your veterinarian to make sure starches won’t cause an issue for your dog.

  • Pros: Salmon meal as concentrated source of animal protein, dried fruits and veggies for nutritional support, cranberries and antioxidants for urinary health, highly digestible recipe
  • Cons: May be too high in starch for some dogs, expensive compared to average kibble

Zesty Paws Cranberry Bladder Bites Urinary Tract Support

Bonus Review: Making sudden changes to your dog’s diet can upset his stomach and might do more harm than good if he’s already suffering from health problems. If your veterinarian doesn’t think your dog’s diet is a problem but he still has urinary issues, you might consider simply adding a urinary health support supplement to his daily routine. These Zesty Paws Cranberry Bladder Bites come in a delicious chicken flavor and are formulated to balance your dog’s urine pH while also supporting other aspects of his urinary health. These supplements feature Cran-Max with patented Bio-Shield technology to flush out bad bacteria and promote healthy bladder and urinary function. Simply follow the feeding instructions on the package to give your dog 1 to 3 chews a day. It’s that simple!

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can dog food cause urinary tract infections? – There is no strict yes or no answer to this question because numerous factors impact your dog’s urinary tract health. Bacterial infection is the most common cause of urinary tract infections in dogs, but it can be related to diet. Excess levels of certain minerals like magnesium and phosphate in your dog’s diet can change the pH of his urine, leading to another common urinary health issue – bladder or urinary stones. It is also possible that if your dog’s diet doesn’t provide for his nutritional needs, his immune system could become weakened, making him more prone to infection-causing bacteria.
  • What can I feed my dog with urinary crystals? – Urinary crystals are fairly common in pets and can be impacted by things like the temperature, acidity, and concentration of certain compounds in your dog’s urine. It is important to understand the difference between urinary crystals and urinary stones. Certain types of urinary crystals can lead to stone formation, but there are numerous causes to consider. If you notice crystals in your dog’s urine, talk to your vet to determine whether they are likely to cause a problem. If so, you may need to make changes to your dog’s diet. Encouraging your dog to drink more water is extremely important, though it may also help to switch your dog to a diet lower in protein, magnesium, and phosphorus to address the pH imbalance causing the crystals to form.
  • What type of food causes bladder stones in dogs? – Bladder stones in dogs are formed from a collection of various minerals and other compounds. The most common bladder stones in dogs are formed from struvite, calcium oxalate, cystine, or urate crystals – the first two being more common than the last two. Bladder stones are often the result of a urinary tract infection which may be treated with antibiotics. Diet can contribute to the accumulation of crystals in your dog’s urine and should be a factor when it comes to preventing the stones from returning. You might need to increase your dog’s water intake and decrease his intake of foods that contribute to urinary crystals like meat, organs, fish, and seafood.
  • Why does my dog keep getting urinary tract infections? – The most common cause of urinary tract infections in dogs is bacteria. The bacteria enters upwards through the dog’s urethral opening and is most likely to affect older dogs age 7 and up. E. coli is the most common bacteria known to cause UTIs, though other less common causes may include bladder or kidney disease, cancer, diabetes, or prostate disease. A urinalysis is usually enough to make an accurate diagnosis and oral antibiotics are the most common treatment for UTIs.
  • How do you prevent UTI in dogs? – You can’t 100% prevent urinary tract infections but increasing the amount of water your dog drinks can reduce his risk. It’s also a good idea to put your dog outside more often because holding in urine for too long can lead to crystal formation and may contribute to bladder stones or other urinary health issues. Probiotic supplements may also help support healthy bacteria in your dog’s body to prevent an imbalance of bad versus good bacteria that leads to an infection.

After reading this article, you should have a more thorough understanding of your dog’s urinary tract health and all the things that can affect it – including his diet. If you haven’t done so already, talk to your veterinarian about your dog’s issues and see what kind of treatment plan might be needed. From there, you can consider making changing to your dog’s diet to further support his urinary health. If you’re not sure where to start, consider one of the tasty recipes we’ve reviewed above!

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